“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God,” Colossians 3:16 (New Revised Standard Version).
Just such an event happened this past week. An unforgettable night of song, music, praise and celebration occurred April 9 at the historic Ryman Auditorium. The world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers and their special guests were in concert. As part of their annual Spring Arts Festival, Fisk University again allowed the world to witness greatness in music and song.
Under the musical direction of Dr. Paul T. Kwami and co-director Shannon Sanders, the Fisk Jubilee Singers sang ‘Steal Away to Jesus,’ ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ and ‘Lord, I’m Out Here On Your Word’ among many others. The selections were beautiful, uplifting, haunting and elegant. Some of the lead singers of the group included: Courtney Kirksey-Warren, Melody Beck, Kierra Pryor, Lyante Savala and Torin Brown.
Internationally known CeCe Winans (one of my favorite singers) sang a spirit filled ‘Blessed Assurance.’ ‘Artist in Residence’ (as professor of ‘voice and opera’) at Fisk University, Gwendolyn Brown wowed the audience with ‘Lord How Come Me Here’ receiving a standing ovation for her incredible rendition. Other stellar performances were by Jordan Holland, Derek Minor, Ruby Amanfu, Gordon Kennedy, Sam Moore, Jimmy Hall, and Keb’Mo’.
The Fisk Jubilee Singers started as a group of traveling students from Nashville, Tennessee in October, 1871, to raise enough money to financially save their debt-ridden school. In a world tour, Nashville’s Fisk University Fisk Jubilee Singers helped to fund the mission of educating freed slaves after the Civil War. In 1873 Queen Victoria of England stated that the Fisk Jubilee Singers must have come from the “Music City” which put Nashville on the world map as a global music center.
Bravo to the Fisk Jubilee Singers and their special guests.